Engine Re-Power..... Genesis and LA!

When we last left our story, our engine had gone out on us in Vero Beach, Florida in December 2009 just as we were leaving for the Bahamas.

Once we made the decision to re-power the boat with a new Yanmar 54 hp, it was pretty much a no-brainer that we did not want to take $20,000 out of our cruising budget to do it.  I contacted Mary Helen,  my trusted boss at the hospital where I retired and asked if she had any work available for me.  Fortunately she did, and a week later,  I returned to my hometown in Crystal Springs, MS.  I started work in Jackson at St. Dominic Hospital on January 19, 2010.

Meanwhile,  LA set about the task of planning the re-power.  We bought a new Yanmar 54 hp 4JH5E from a business in Fort Lauderdale.  They were waiting on a shipment of engines from Japan, so we had about a 6 week wait time.  LA stayed on the mooring ball at Vero Beach. 

Unfortunately, during this time, LA's health was not good.  He had a respiratory illness of some sort and just could not seem to recover.  He visited a "doc in the box" clinic in Vero and was prescribed a round of antibiotics.  He continued to have difficulty breathing.  He returned to the clinic, was prescribed another round of antibiotics and had an order for a chest X-ray and was referred to a pulmonologist in Vero Beach.  However, he could not get an appointment for 6 weeks.  During the period from January to the end of February, he was plagued with severe bouts of shortness of breath. I flew back to Vero Beach at the end of February for LA's appointment.  We met with the pulmonologist who diagnosed LA with a gi condition called LPR (laryngo-pharyngeal reflux).  She prescribed a gi proton-pump inhibitor, two different breathing inhalers, a round of oral steroid therapy, and prescribed a bland diet.  She said that the condition would take a long time to resolve over a period of several months and we needed to be patient with the recovery process.  We were relieved that the condition had finally been diagnosed and felt like LA would now be on the road to recovery.

Meanwhile, the engine arrived in Fort Lauderdale.  We drove to Fort Lauderdale during my February trip and cut a check for $10,000.  It was now time to find a way to get Genesis from the mooring ball at Vero Beach 100 miles down the waterway to Fort Lauderdale.  LA contacted TowBoat US and asked if our insurance would cover the towing.  The insurance would only cover taking the boat to a nearby boatyard.  However, the TowBoat US captain recommended a very good boatyard in nearby Fort Pierce, which was only 15 miles down the waterway and the towing would be covered by insurance.

Whiticar Marine North, Fort Pierce, Florida

As it turned out, we ended up in a great boatyard for our engine work.  Whiticar Marine has two yards... a north and a south yard.  We went to the North yard in Fort Pierce which was managed by a great guy, Tim Price.  Tim believes in customer satisfaction and he is going to make sure that you get it.  The yard was experienced with engine re-powering and LA felt like he had come to the right place.  This was going to be an expensive job and he wanted it done right.  The Yanmar 54 engine cost $9650.  With the installation labor, the total cost of the engine re-power was $20,000. 


On April 15, 2010, Genesis was hauled out of the water and placed on the hard.  

LA had already prepared the old engine to be removed from the boat.  Everything was disconnected... hoses, electrical, shift cable, exhaust, transmission coupler.  A crane was used to lift the old engine out of the boat and put the new engine in the boat.  An aluminum I-beam was set up inside the boat which had a chain hoist on rollers which allowed the engine to be lifted in and out of the engine bed so that the engine bed could be constructed properly.  


A major issue converting from a 40 hp motor to a 54 hp was that the entire exhaust system had to be replaced, including the exhaust canister, the vetus loop and converting from a 2-inch hose to a 3-inch hose.  On some boats the 3-inch hose conversion can be issue, but luckily, this was not a problem for my Shannon.  We moved the exhaust canister to a shelf center-line on top of the shaft and the vetus loop was placed in the highest part of the port stern quarter panel to keep sea water from entering the exhaust pipe.  

The front half of the engine bed had to be lowered by 4 inches.  A saws-all was used to cut the engine bed (constructed of fiber glassed oak timbers).  We were all very impressed with the strength and thickness of the engine bed originally constructed by Shannon.   The new engine bed had to be re-glassed and the engine bed with painted with two coats of Interluxe Bilge Cote. In order to level the back of the engine, hangers had to be built to line the engine up with the shaft.  The steel hangers were custom-made by a welder and were bolted to the engine and engine bed.  

The old Westerbeke had iron pipe connecting the exhaust system to the engine.  When installing the new Yanmar, custom stainless steel pipe was used, which will last the life of the engine. 

The dimensional difference between the engines was that the Yanmar had 4 inches less height than the old Westerbeke and allowed 4 inches more clearance on starboard side, and 3 inches more clearance on the port side.

Cutting the engine bed created a couple of issues during the installation.  The existing Reverso oil changer outgoing line could not be connected to the new engine oil pan due to low clearance in the engine bed. The old line was converted to remove oil from the dipstick sleeve.  The transmission line to the Reverso oil changer hooked up fine.  The other issue involved making a cutout in the engine bed to allow clearance for the removal of the oil filter.

The shaft and cutlass bearing were replaced. A 1-inch spacer was added between the shaft flange and the engine coupler to reduce vibration and allow space for the shaft 1-inch zinc donut.  There were no problems with the engine alignment.  The old 16x11 right-handed prop was used as a template to build a new prop.  The new prop was a 19-inch, 3-bladed, right-handed prop that was cut down and reshaped.  It worked perfectly.

On the Yanmar, the alternator, the injectors and the high pressure fuel pump were on the opposite side from my old Westerbeke. This required some additional wiring.  This worked out well for me because I never liked where my engine instrument panel was located on my Shannon.  It was located on the lower port side of the rear cockpit.  Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger's Shannon 37, Silk, took a on a rogue wave off the coast of Africa resulting in a flooded engine panel, causing them to sail back to land for repairs. The new Yanmar instrument panel was moved to the starboard side of the companionway.  When the old panel was removed, space opened up to install a small waterproof door and a shelf was built to store oil and cleaning supplies.

While LA was in the yard, he decided to have all the 31-year old existing gel coat on the boat painted.  It had become so porous that it was impossible to keep clean.  This included painting all of the cockpit and cabin.  The yard had a good painter, Tom, who had previously painted for Hatteras yachts.  Tom brushed on awl grip and was very meticulous and did an excellent job.  This was a painstaking process which took a lot of hours and was expensive.  Tom also repaired some scrapes on the topsides and repainted with Imron.  We have been very happy with the results and are now able to keep the boat much cleaner.

Once again, the waterline had to be raised. We raised the waterline 3 inches back in May 2008, and now needed to raise the waterline another 3 inches. The captain (LA) was not happy about this decision, saying "we have got to get some of this stuff off the boat!", but the admiral (Susan) knew that every time stuff is moved off, more stuff is moved on, so the captain was informed that the "waterline absolutely had to be moved again".  The captain could not stand up to the admiral's steadfast stance on this and relented.  But he did inform the admiral that this was the LAST time the waterline could be raised.  (We shall see......).  Two feet of Interluxe barrier coat was added at the waterline to give extra protection from barnacles and algae.  Two coats of Petit Trinidad were used to paint the bottom.  

Genesis was splashed back in the water in June.  At the end of June, Susan had finished her work at the hospital and had made enough money for all the boat projects and then some.  It was finally time to return to the boat!  

Another Re-power in Store for the Wyatts!

Remember the title of our story?  A re-power for Genesis AND LA?????  Well, when I returned to the boat, our plans were to travel up the east coast of the US to the Chesapeake for the summer.  However, when I arrived in Fort Pierce, LA was STILL having difficulty breathing.  After spending a couple of days with him celebrating our 31st anniversary, I realized that he was in no shape to make a trip anywhere.  We decided to return to Jackson and have him thoroughly checked out by our own physicians.  We were thinking that we needed to get in to see a gi physician and have an endoscopy to take a look at the laryngo-pharyngeal reflux (LPR) situation.  

We rented a car on July 5, threw LuLu and a few belongings in the car, and made a 12-hour trip back to Crystal Springs, traveling all day in a driving rain.  LA was too weak to drive.  The following morning, our family physician, Dr. Jerry Gulledge, examined LA and said "buddy, I don't think this is gi.... it looks like a pulmonary problem to me and you need to see a pulmonologist as soon as possible... today!".  We have a family friend that is an excellent pulmonologist, Dr. Jimmy Jones, and we were able to get an appointment 2 hours later.  It didn't take Jimmy long to realize that the problem was cardiac and he immediately admitted LA to the hospital.

A day later, on July 7, LA's cardiologist, Dr. Richard Guynes, diagnosed the problem. LA had a huge aortic aneurysm.  He was very fortunate that it had not ruptured (which would have resulted in certain death). The aorta needed to be repaired and his aortic valve was shot and needed to be replaced as well.  Unfortunately, his left ventricle was not working well and due to his poor nutrition status from the misdiagnosed LPR, surgery had to be delayed for a week so that his heart could get stronger.  Dr. Gerhard Mundinger, a cardiac surgeon, was consulted.  We were informed that LA would remain in the hospital until the surgery.  We had some difficult facts to face.  He had a 30% chance that he would not make it through the surgery.  (FYI.... people facing bypass surgery have a 2-3% death rate).  However, after several days, his heart function improved and he was allowed to go home to "put his affairs in order".  We revised our living wills and mentally prepared for surgery.  On July 18, we returned to the hospital for surgery on July 19.  Dr. Mundinger performed the 8-hour surgery and LA did great.  He remained in the hospital until August 11. We are grateful for the support of all the doctors, nurses, family and friends which supported us during this difficult time. We remained in Crystal Springs during LA's recuperation and finally returned to our beloved Genesis mid-November 2010. 

Cruise interrupted..... now becomes Cruising Again!  We are so excited to resume our cruising life!  We plan to leave Fort Pierce and travel down the waterway a bit and find a place to cross over to the Bahamas.  Now that our boat is ready and LA is ready, it's time to have some fun!!  Stay tuned and find out what adventures are in store for us! 


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